Here Lesley Cutler herself shares first-hand her exhilarating journey:
“Hi, I’m Lesley and I’ve run my business for over 20 years. I’m a very practical and creative person and from a young age have always enjoyed sewing.
I studied garment technology for four years at the London College of Fashion in London. This covered every aspect of making a garment from the fabric choice, sketching the design, market research, cutting the pattern, through to making the final garment. I loved learning about every different garment type and wedding dresses were definitely my favourite.
On leaving college my first job was with Norman Hartnell, the Queen’s wedding dress designer. Here I learnt about hand finishing and working on the most exquisite fabrics.
My desire was to be a pattern cutter so felt I wasn’t using my skills fully and I moved to Planet and loved this role. I also held pattern cutting positions with Aquascutum and Alexon.
After being made redundant I was lucky to be offered a job with Ronald Joyce, the largest and most successful wedding dress manufacturing company in the UK at the time. I was fully involved in every aspect of the design of the new range. The dresses were very varied and complex. I took promotion after this.
Elizabeth Emanuel was my highest held job with a team of 6 to manage. I was Elizabeth’s right hand person and I cut all the patterns and fitted the garments: elaborate ball gowns, wedding dresses and tailored suits for royalty, TV presenters and other famous names. I have also worked freelance for Jenny Packham and John Galliano.
I had always wanted to run my own company and had a vision to make bespoke handmade wedding dresses for my own clients. I had a phenomenal background and training in the clothing industry so knew I was going to excel at this. I wanted a business that gave me a perfect balance with my family life as well as a superb professional service.
The business has grown every year and I’ve been determined to keep absolutely up to date with the latest trends, fashions and ideas.”
“Hi there! I’m Emma, Lesley’s assistant.
I have always loved being creative and Art was my favourite subject at school closely followed by design technology. At college I studied multidisciplinary design, one of the modules being fashion and textiles. This is when I was first told I had a natural flair for bridal design by my tutor. I remember it well; my first project was to design a top based on my favourite artist’s work. At the time this was Georgia O’Keefe.
I actually still have sketches for it from all those years ago!
I was really proud of my work even though we only got to take our projects to the stage where it was made from calico as a mock-up.
At home I have a vast collection of craft materials and fabric and love to study fashion history. I love researching what different designers have created over the past decades and reading about their personalities. They are interesting characters, particularly Coco Chanel and Vivienne Westwood!
I love making beautiful dresses with Lesley. We work so well together and are both passionate about helping women look their best and feel amazing. I find nothing more satisfying than seeing a client wearing her dream wedding dress, standing in front of the mirror in our studio with a beaming smile knowing I played a part in creating that feeling. It’s lovely.
I work on all of the hand sewing elements of Lesley’s designs; the intricate beadwork, lace or adding buttons or embellishments to mention but a few of my tasks. I love the detailing and find it provides me the opportunity to be really creative. I always leave the studio at the end of my day feeling proud of our work and hope that our customers love their dress as much as I enjoyed working on it.”